Up On The Roof 

This is the first time that I can remember being asked to walk on the roof of any building. Yet, the Oslo Opera and Ballet House (Norwegian: Operahuset) has been designed in such a way that people from all over the world walk the roof from many different paths.

It is quite remarkable.

The angled exterior surfaces of the building are covered with marble from Carrara, Italy and white granite. It looks like it’s rising from the water. 

We Made It To Oslo, The City, Not The Play 

Oslo is one gorgeous city.  We visited The Vigeland Park today which is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. It is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. 
The sculpture park is Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park. The Vigeland Park was mainly completed between 1939 and 1949.

Vigeland (1869–1943) donated all his works to the city of Oslo. In return, the city gave him the park and a studio that he could live and work in. The main theme in the park is the circle of life. This is also the reason all the sculptures are naked. Vigeland didn’t want any disguises. Everyone is the same. We all experience happiness, sadness, insecurities, laughter, stress, winning, and failing. He wanted statues that were stripped down and honest.

All photos taken by yours truly with my iPhone 7 Plus. The first photo of Eliot and myself was taken by a stranger. The balance me. One shot each. No retakes.

Bit By Bit 

We saw a very unusual art exhibit today in Lofthus, Norway, which is located on the shores of the Hardangerfjord, a region that is surrounded with snow capped mountains and captivating  fjords. Our elegant, old charm hotel is inches from the water and every room has a balcony view.

The Hardanger Folk Museum was a ferry ride away.  It didn’t look like much from the outside, but the works of Norwegian Karen Bit Vejle inside, were magical. 

Karen’s art pieces are called psalm graph, the creation of pictures on paper by cutting patterns and motifs. The psalm graphical work is formed by a large continuous piece of paper and is cut exclusively with scissors.

Each paper cut has its own story.  The stories have a message about peace and love among humans and other living things. They are very poetic.

I truly suggest you watch the video to find out how Karen was discovered (less an a decade ago) and what’s happened to her since. She is 59 years old and was born in Denmark. She uses her middle name Bit as the signature on her works and products. She lived in Trondheim in the years 1984 to 2014, and then moved back to Denmark.

Today she has assignments and exhibitions in the Nordic countries, Europe, the United States, and Asia. Adrian Sassoon of London is her art dealer. Karen also collaborated with Chinese paper artist Xiaoguang Qiao. Their work has been shown in several countries. Bit recently designed other products, such as blankets, tablecloths and tableware based on her paper clip patterns. It was a natural. 

It’s never too late to discover an inner talent. Karen is complete self-taught.

Bus, Train, Ferry Ride Through Norway  

We spent the day in the heart of Norway’s Fjord region. The bus took us to Voss. Then we went on the world’s famous Flam Mountain Railway for a thrilling ride descending 2,600 feet through waterfalls and  towering mountains. A ferry cruise took us through the Sognefjord. The photos by Eliot Hess tell it all. 

If It’s Sunday, It Must Be Bergen

Today we are in Bergen, (Bryggen) a city on Norway’s southwestern coast. We are surrounded by mountains, fjords and colorful wooden houses on an old wharf. The panoramic views and hiking trails are breathtaking. Periodic rain doesn’t stop the action in the Sunday fish market.  

Photos by Eliot Hess 

Bergen At Night

Two Hours With ABBA And Suddenly “I’m The Dancing Queen”

I must be living under a rock. I don’t remember anyone ever telling me how fabulous Stockholm is. Yes, a few people mentioned they had a good time cruising through the Scandinavian countries, but no one ever emphasized that this is a “must see” and “must experience” place on earth. 

I received several emails from friends saying this city is one of their favorite places once they saw my Stockholm photos on Facebook. I wish they would have told me about it before. They are so well traveled, they probably assumed I knew.  

Stockholm is a combination of Paris and Venice. It’s situated on 14 islands. Eliot and I spent the day on the Hop/On Hop/Off Water Taxis visiting various places. It was so convenient when we went to the Vasa Museum, the ABBA Museum, the Nobel Museum, Gamla Stan (the old town), the Royal Palace, and several waterfront restaurants. 

The Vasa Museum (Swedish: Vasamuseet) houses  a war ship that was miraculously salvaged 333 years after it sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa story is known worldwide because of its tragic 20 minute fiasco.

The Nobel Museum (Swedish: Nobelmuseet) is dedicated to the Nobel Prize, Nobel laureates from 1901 to present, and the life of the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). The inside architecture is exquisite. 

The ABBA museum made me feel like I was a teenager again. The establishment houses the Swedish rock group’s costumes, gold records, original musical equipment, memorabilia, rehearsal studios, and cars. An audio companion gadget, from display to display, gave us their entire story.

The big bonus was that we were able to sing karaoke with ABBA tunes and insert ourselves dancing with ABBA in pre-recorded videos. Eliot and I were so bad he wouldn’t let me buy the recordings. I was laughing so hard, I almost had an accident. 

Hope everyone at home and those vacationing are doing well.

This should only be true.

Two hours of laughs and great memories.

Beautiful architecture.

Stunning buildings.

Ferry rides were so refreshing.

Thrilled to have witnessed where it all happens.

We can’t believe we learned this part of history.

What a tragedy.

Eliot had to get every angle.

The materials used to preserve won’t last forever.

The details are amazing.

You don’t see frills like this anymore.

To TV Or Not TV, That Is The Question 

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.

He is quite popular on the Internet. Many people who are involved in the digital world follow him on social media and read his blog. 

I thought you would be interested in what he has to say about people who watch a lot of television.

You can click on his blog here or read his words below. I cut and pasted it for you. 

“It turns out that the more you watch TV, the more you believe that the world is dangerous. It turns out TV watchers believe that an astonishing 5% of the population works in law enforcement. And it turns out that the more you watch TV the less optimistic you become. Cultivation theory helps us understand the enormous power that TV immersion has.

“Given the overwhelming power of interaction, I’m confident that we’ll discover that internet exposure, particularly to linkbait headlines, comments and invective, will also change what people believe about the world around them.
It’s hopeful to imagine that we can change these outcomes by changing the inputs. Of course, the hard part is choosing to do so.

“Every time I see a toddler in a stroller with an internet device in hand, I shudder. If we want a better future, it helps to be able to see the world as it is.”

Posted by Seth Godin on August 10, 2017

My retort. 

“I have a much different opinion. I am grateful to be living in a world where we have so much access to information. I want to hear and read as much as I can about what’s going on today,  even if that means that I’m glued to my TV set and Internet devices. 

“While a lot of what I learn though electronic communications may be depressing, it also makes me stronger to succeed in a personal and business level. I do spend a great deal of time interacting with electronic communications because it has educated me beyond any expectation I ever could have had for myself. If it wasn’t for the Internet, I wouldn’t know who Seth Grodin is. Don’t fear electronic communications. Embrace it. You will always have time for live events.”

Instant Home Photo Studio

Memo to Marilyn Scher —this is perfect for your eBay business. 

Truthfully, the Instant Home Photo Studio is fabulous for anyone who needs or wants to take photos of products, or any kind of object.

For approximately $6.00, it’s better than your kitchen table.  This creative little stage will make your photos look totally professional. 

The manufacturer said, “This lightbox is like a miniature pro photographer’s studio. It eliminates distractions and pulls in the focus factor to deliver truly professional looking photos. Extra bright light beams in from an LED strip concealed up top, lending clarity and quality to every image. 

White or black background? You choose! Your lightbox is perfect for social media, ideal for  retail, and great for taking selfies of your favorite valuables. Whatever your needs, whatever your focus, your Instant Home Photo Studio will boost your possibilities, transform your creative output, and make all your photos stylish, captivating — and pro.”

I think it’s adorable and a problem solver. No more shadows, no more glares, and no more blurs.

Watch the video.  It’s a competitive product but similar installation.

Medium ( 23 x 23 x 24cm / 9″ x 9″ x 9.4″)
Large ( 30 x 30 x 30cm / 11″ x 11″ x 11″ )

Extra Large ( 40 x 40 x 40cm / 15.7″ x 15.7″ x 15.7 ” )